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Lok Sabha clears Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill

Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill which looks at making changes in regulations on compensation payable for acquisition of immovable property by the Centre for defence and security purposes.The bill was moved by Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who informed the house that the bill was being amended for the 12th time and was tabled for a specific purpose.The bill seeks to amend Section 7 of The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952 to allow the Central government to re-issue the notice to the owner or such other person interested in the property so that the property’s owner gets an opportunity to be heard.As per the statement of objects and reasons of the bill there have been instances of where people interested in the requisitioned property have challenged the notice of acquisition on the ground that it has been published without giving them a personal hearing.”This may cause astronomical hike in the quantum of compensation because of the inevitable appreciation of the market value of the property between the original date of publication of notice of acquisition and the present date of publication of the same, pursuant to the orders of the courts,”it states. Speaking at the debate, Puri clarified that the government does not intend to open up cases where the compensation has already been provided.”Sometimes the enemy does not trouble (the civilians), but these (defence) officials do. The Bill will help get justice to those whose land has been taken,” BJP MP Gopal Shetty said.CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim accused the government of trying to bring in legislations for land acquisition at a time when the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was under consideration of the joint parliamentary committee.The bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in July this year.

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Facing depleted strength, IAF issues request for proposal to HAL for 83 Tejas aircraft

Faced with depleting strength of its fighter squadron, the Indian Air Force today issued the the request for proposal (RFP) to state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the procurement of 83 Tejas light combat aircraft at a cost of over Rs 50,000 crore. The IAF had earlier placed an order with the HAL for 40 Tejas aircraft.The RFP for 83 Tejas light combat aircraft has been issued today, setting the ball rolling for finalising the contract for the mega deal, official sources said. The Defence Acquisition Council, the defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement, had in November last year approved purchase of 83 Tejas Mark 1 A by IAF at a cost of Rs 50,025 crore. The sources said the final deal for the procurement is likely to be inked within the next five months.They said out of the 83 LCA, 10 will be used for training purposes. According to official figures, 14 squadrons of the MiG 21, MiG 27 and MiG 29 are due for retirement in the next 10 years which will bring down the fighter squadron strength to 19 by 2027 from the current 33. The strength may be further reduced to 16 by 2032. In an interview to PTI, HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju had said most of the 42 modifications in Tejas sought by the IAF, including weaponisation of the aircraft, had been carried out.Also readWatch: Singapore Defence Minister flies Tejas, says felt like riding a car “Tejas is a four-and-half generation world class fighter jet. There is no doubt about it. We can improve its various parameters. We are proud of Tejas. Every Indian will be proud of it. We will ensure enhancement in its quality and performance,” Raju had said. There have been views in the IAF that the Tejas aircraft was not enough to maintain its combat readiness and it needed to quickly procure a fleet of foreign single engine fighters to deal with any possible security challenges faced by the country in the backdrop of the dwindling size of its fighter fleet. The IAF believes that it has to have a wide mix of aircraft to maintain an operational edge over its adversaries.The HAL CMD had said that the four-and-half generation Tejas would be able to deliver what is expected of it.The lifespan of the jet would be a minimum of 30 years just like any other frontline combat aircraft, he had said. The combat jets are classified under various generations depending on their avionics, capability and weapons systems. The current fleet of fighter jets with the IAF range from three-and-half generation to the fourth generation.

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Shiv Sena pursues growth plan, gears up for solo fight in next elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena is slowly and steadily pursuing its plan to spread its presence in all 288 assembly and 45 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra before taking a final call to go solo in the elections slated for 2019. Even though the saffron party is sharing power with the ‘’big brother’’ BJP in the state since December 2014, the Shiv Sena is stepping up its attack against the government on a number of issues taking the space of opposition too. The party president Uddhav Thacleray at the recent meeting with the senior leaders has told the cadre to warm up for further strengthening the organisation at the grassroots to take on mighty BJP.Party MPs, legislators and senior leaders have been assigned district and region wise responsibilities to counter BJP’s strategy to penetrate upto the booth and block level. Thackeray is personally keeping an eye on organisational work and he has been in constant touch with the district chiefs. Thackeray has already completed Marathwada tour and will visit Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara between November 24 and 26. These districts, where BJP has made sufficient inroads while weakening the hold of the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.Notwithstanding the setback in the recent civic and local body elections in which BJP has gained a top slot, Shiv Sena has made it amply clear that it will raise issues faced by common man and encash unrest due to demonetization, Goods and Services Tax, technical glitches in the implementation of much ambitious farm loan waiver scheme, rising farmers suicides and their plight due to low prices for agriculture produce and more importantly curb on development expenditure following paucity of funds.Shiv Sena leader, who is engaged in pursuing party’s roadmap for consolidation, told DNA,’’ Party president Uddhav Thackeray has been quite clear that despite efforts to corner Shiv Sena especially by BJP it will continue to raise issues faced by people. This has been time and again proved be it the issue of amendment to the Land Acquisition, changes in Labour Laws, rehabilitation of farmers affected by Mumbai Nagpur expressway or by Metro rail and other infrastructure projects in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra. Shiv Sena voiced their concerns and made government to make necessary changes.’’ He informed that Thackeray will conduct similar tours in rest of Maharashtra ahead of next assembly and parliamentary elections.Meanwhile, Thackeray has told BJP that the Shiv Sena will not compromise on nomination of former Shiv Sena leader and chief minister Narayan Rane during the election to the state legislative council slated for December 7. Besides, the party will continue to oppose Rane’s induction in the state cabinet as he has rebelled against Shiv Sena and also attacked the party supremo Bal Thackeray.Rane recently quit the Congress party to float his own outfit and extended support to BJP. He is now NDA partners.

7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns: Army finalises procurement plan to replace ageing weapons

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army has finalised one of its biggest procurement plans for infantry modernisation under which a large number of light machine guns, battle carbines and assault rifles are being purchased at a cost of nearly Rs 40,000 crore to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons.The broad process to acquire around 7 lakh rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines has been finalised and the defence ministry is on the same page with the Army in moving ahead with the procurement, official sources told PTI.The world’s second largest standing Army has been pressing for fast-tracking the procurement of various weapons systems considering the evolving security threats including along India’s borders with Pakistan and China.Apart from kick-starting the procurement process, the government has also sent a message to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to expedite its work on various small arms, particularly on an LMG.The sources said a fresh RFI (request for information) to procure the LMGs will be issued in the next few days, months after the defence ministry scrapped the tender for the 7.62 calibre guns as there was only one vendor left after a series of field trials. The plan is to initially procure around 10,000 LMGs.The Army has also finalised the specifications for a new 7.62 mm assault rifle and the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement, is expected to give the go-ahead for the much- needed procurement soon.”The General Service Quality Requirements (GSQR) for the new assault rifle has been finalised. The procurement plan will soon be placed before the DAC for approval,” said a senior official, who is part of the acquisition process.In June, the Army had rejected an assault rifle built by the state-run Rifle Factory, Ishapore, after the guns miserably failed the firing tests.The procurement of assault rifles has witnessed significant delays due to a variety of reasons including the Army’s failure to finalise the specifications for it. The Army needs around 7 lakh 7.62×51 mm assault guns to replace its INSAS rifles.The Army had issued RFI for the rifles in September last year and around 20 firms responded to it. An RFI is a process whose purpose is to collect information about capabilities of various vendors.In June, the Army had kick-started the initial process to procure around 44,600 carbines, nearly eight months after a tender for it was retracted, also due to single-vendor situation. Around half a dozen firms including a few global arms manufacturers have responded to the RFI.Army sources said various specifications for the LMGs and battle carbines were tweaked to ensure that the problem of single vendor does not recur.The combined cost of the LMGs, assault rifles and carbines will be in excess of Rs 40,000 crore, said an official.On DRDO missing a number of deadlines in finalising the LMG, an official said the defence secretary has called a meeting this week of all stakeholders to discuss the project.”The infantry modernisation plan is a major initiative of the Army and it will significantly bolster the overall capability of the foot soldiers,” said a senior army official.The issue was extensively discussed at the recently- concluded Army Commanders conference which felt modernisation of the Army must be in tune with the evolving security threat facing the country.Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman conveyed to the Army during the conference that modernisation of the force was a priority for the government and all its “deficiencies” will be addressed to strengthen its combat capability.

AAI ropes in CEPT to draft land policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The national airports operator Airports Authority of India (AAI) has roped in CEPT University to formulate a policy framework to procure land for airport projects. As part of the pan India project, CEPT experts will look into Government of India’s initiative of developing new airports and expansion of the existing ones.The Centre for Urban Land and Real Estate Policy (CULREP) at CEPT will review options and recommend a broader ‘Policy for land procurement for airport projects’. It will be based on review of state laws and case studies of new and existing airports.Under the direction and guidance of CEPT president Dr Bimal Patel and Faculty of Planning dean Vidyadhar Phatak, the study will be undertaken by the joint team comprising professors Rutool Sharma, Brijesh Bhatha and Jignesh Mehta.Guruprasad Mohapatra, chairman, AAI said, “To develop any airport, 1,500-2,000 acre of land is required and even to expand existing airport, more land is needed. The present Land Acquisition Act is extremely time consuming and an expensive proposition. State governments are finding it difficult at one go.”Dr Bimal Patel said, “Many states have tried mechanisms such as land readjustment and pooling which can provide an alternative. As part of this study, we will review some mechanisms and recommend the most suitable alternative for land procurement. Such an alternative might also be suitable for land procurement for other large projects like industrial clusters, highways and ports.”The CEPT team will be assisted by geomatics experts, planners, urban designers and architects.Mohapatra added, “Some projects in Maharashtra were done on basic TP principles. This concept was also upheld by high court and the Supreme Court.”

Army to get six Apache helicopters at cost of Rs 4,168 crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Thursday approved the procurement of six US-made Apache-64E helicopters at a cost of Rs. 4,168 crore for the Indian Army. The Defence Ministry stated, ?The Indian Army would be provided with 6 Apache choppers, costing Rs 4,186 crores?. Earlier in the day, the DAC, headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, gave the green light to the procurement of attack helicopters. The move came amid the demands raised from the defence quarters to upgrade the incumbent arsenal of the Indian Air Force. The six ‘AH-64-E’ helicopters will come along with associated equipment, spares and weapons system. The AH-64-E choppers are known as one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters which have advanced weapons systems and night-fighting features. The combat choppers were part of Army?s wishlist over a period of time, with the initial pitch for procurement made back in 2015. The contract signed three years ago included the order of 22 Apache helicopters, along with 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers in 2015. The deal was inked at 3.1 billion dollars. After the government, finalised the deal for 22 Apache helicopters for the Indian Air Force, the Army had been pushing for follow on orders of 11 choppers for it, arguing that the ground forces need them considering the changing security scenario in the region. However, the IAF as not in favour of the Army’s proposal. Till now, the Army does not have any attack helicopter. The Rs. 4,168 crore deal will also include cost of weapons, ammunition, spares and associate equipment and training.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Villagers seek protection ahead of land acquisition exercise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of villagers from Washala village here today met the Thane collector, seeking protection from local money lenders in the wake of land acquisition for the Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg project. The tribals from Shahpur taluka handed over a memorandum to collector Mahendra Kalyankar and said a majority of farmers in the village are ready to relinquish their land for the mega Nagpur-Mumbai expressway project. But many of them are being allegedly threatened by money lenders over the ownership of their lands. Villagers’ representative Dnyaneshwar Nivruti Talpade said that despite villagers having land on their name, some money lenders are harassing them, claiming ownership over farmers’ land, ahead of the start of acquisition process. He urged to the district magistrate and the police to provide protection to them during the process of acquisition.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha Govt goes full steam to develop Mumbai-Nagpur expressway despite opposition from some farmers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government on Monday clarified that development of the 700 km Mumbai Nagpur Super Communication Expressway will be carried out as per the plan. This is despite protests by some farmers in the grapes- and onion-growing Nashik district and strong opposition from BJP’s ruling partner Shiv Sena, Opposition Congress and NCP. The state-run Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which is the nodal agency, has hinted that construction will begin in October this year, and will be thrown open to traffic in October 2019.When contacted, MSRDC vice chairman and managing director Radheshyam Mopalwar told DNA, “Out of a total 392 villages through which the expressway is passing, there is some concern and resistance in 15 to 20 villages. Rates of land have been declared in nine of 10 districts (except Ahmednagar), and funds have been transferred to these districts. Payment to farmers will commence from Tuesday onwards. The preparatory work for starting the construction as per the present alignment is in full swing.”The rates so far declared for land ranges between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 87 lakh per acre, and vary from village to village. MSRDC will need 10,000 hectares of land for the expressway. The company has already raised Rs 7,000 crore and tied up Rs 24,000 crore for the Rs 40,000 crore expressway.The government and MSRDC have already made it clear that rates are different for every village as land values are different according to their locations. Besides, ready reckoner rates are also specific to a village as per the Maharashtra Stamp Act. The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 specifically provides for valuation based on the Stamp Act.The rates fixed are for basic jirayat (non-irrigated dry) land and they will be 1.5 times that for the seasonally irrigated and double for the perennially irrigated land in the same village. These rates will be further added to the value of trees, structures, wells and orchards.During the first round of request for qualification (RFQ), the MSRDC has qualified 10 bidders and has now launched the second round, which will be completed by July 30. Financial bidding will start in August. Bidders from both the rounds are entitled to file their financial bids within 45 days from July 30.

Reject amendments to AP land bill: Cong delegation urges prez

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A delegation of Congress leaders today urged President Pranab Mukherjee to reject the amendments made to a land acquisition law in Andhra Pradesh Assembly as it “affected rights of people over land”. The delegation, headed by Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President N Raghuveera Reddy, met the president at his official residence and submitted a memorandum. Others in the delegation included Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and MPs from the state, T Subbarami Reddy and KVP Ramachandra Rao. “Amendments to ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement AP Amendment Act’ made by the state government on March 28 is an attempt to take away the right of people over their land to make it convenient for land acquisition,” the delegation said in a release. The law is Andhra Pradesh’s amended version of the principal law–Land Acquisition Act, 2013. The leaders requested the president to use his rights and refuse the amendments made to the legislation, which allegedly bypassed safeguards that were provided to families whose lands were acquired. Ever since the amendments were made with an aim to pool lands for construction of the new capital Amaravathi, there has been dissent among wide circles of the society, especially farmers community.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

We aim Centre’s goal is indigenization of defence sector Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Minister of State for Defence on Tuesday said that the government is bringing all stakeholders under one roof to promote indigenisation of the defence sector. ?All stakeholders be it Ministry of Defence (MoD), Indian Air Force (IAF), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Private Industries, Ordinance Factory Board and Defence PSU?s are brought under one roof to move towards self reliance. The government is coming up with big reforms to support country?s move towards indegenisation,? Bhamre said. He added that for the past three years many positive initiatives have been taken up in the defence sector. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on May 20 finalised the broad contours of a policy aimed at engaging the Indian private sector in the manufacture of high-tech defence equipment in India. The policy is aimed at developing the defence industrial eco-system in the country through the involvement of both the major Indian corporate as well as the MSME sector. The policy is expected to be implemented in a few selected segments to bogy with, namely, fighter aircraft, submarines and armored vehicles.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

YASH Technologies Announces Acquisition of UK-headquartered

YASH Technologies Announces Acquisition of UK-headquartered

Fri, 19 May 2017-06:09pm , PTI

editors: The following press release comes to you under an arrangement with Businesswire. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>ITPM Consulting (Attn.editors: The following press release comes to you under an arrangement with Businesswire.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DEA discusses indigenous manufacture of fighter jets, choppers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence Acquisition Council today discussed the much-awaited ‘strategic partnership model’ under which select private firms would manufacture fighter jets, helicopters and submarines in India in partnership with foreign companies. Defence Ministry sources said the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, made “forward movement” towards finalising the ‘strategic partnership (SP) model’, covering “substantial ground”. Under SP model, select Indian defence firms will be allowed to exclusively build various military platforms for a specified period of time in partnership with chosen foreign entities. The sources termed the outcome of the deliberations “positive”. Last week, Jaitley had a meeting on the SP model with representatives of defence arms of leading groups including Larsen and Toubro, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra and Mahindra, Reliance Infra, Tata Group, Punj Lloyd, Adani Group and Bharat Forge Ltd. Opinion is divided on whether to select only one private sector company for each segment identified for defence indigenisation or look for other options. The Defence Ministry has been maintaining that it was working towards institutionalising a transparent, objective and functional mechanism to encourage broader participation of the private sector in defence manufacturing. The DAC may again deliberate on some of the issues relating to the proposed SP model before it is taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Security. At last week’s meeting, some industry representatives had favoured a level playing field and expanding the industry base by allowing entry of new players. Some stressed on exercising caution and ensuring that the model does not block the flow of new technology to the sector. It was learnt that some officials also raised concern about possible “judicial intervention and federal audit” in case of award of successive orders to one ‘strategic partner’. The proposed model envisages ‘sequential award’ of contracts for four selected segments, and some industry representatives felt such arrangements will lead to delays in implementation of mega projects. The SP model was proposed by the Dhirendra Singh Committee in July, 2015. It had said for the ‘Make in India’ initiative to become wider in the defence sector, the government should adopt a strategic partnership model, whereby a private firm is chosen for the development of a specific identified platform. Last year, the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had announced that the policy on SP model would be unveiled soon.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Plea filed on decided case: SC slaps fine of Rs five lakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court has imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on a man for filing a plea challenging the compensation awarded to him for his land in Noida, saying “it is gross abuse of process of law” as the case has already been decided. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar dismissed the appeal of the man against the Allahabad High Court order by which his petition challenging the compensation awarded to him for the land acquired by the state for planned industrial development in Noida was rejected. “Judges of Supreme Court have sat for two months and settled this issue. This is misuse of law. What is this going on? We will impose such a cost on you that people of this country will remember,” the bench said after counsel for the petitioner said that the Allahabad High Court has wrongly dismissed his plea. Large-scale acquisition of agricultural and ‘abadi’ land of farmers of different villages of Greater Noida and Noida in the name of planned industrial development took place between 2005 and 2010. The bench, which was initially inclined to impose a cost of Rs 25 lakh, said that once the matter has been decided by the apex court, it cannot be raised again and again. The counsel then said that he is a poor farmer and cannot bear the cost imposed on him. “We know everything. Do you want us to comment on the compensation these people have got after our verdict. Everybody has become crorepati after the verdict,” the bench said directing the petitioner to deposit Rs 5 lakh with the Supreme Court Bar Association Welfare Fund for Advocates within two months. It said, “We impose cost as the process of law is being misused and the case has been filed after our decision and grant of additional benefits. However, the similar question has been raised by the petitioner. It shows gross abuse of process of law.” On December 7, 2016, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed the plea of petitioner Ranveer Singh who challenged the supplementary award of compensation given to him by the competent authority for his land acquired in Noida. Singh’s land was acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2007 under the Land Acquisition Act. The acquisition proceedings were challenged by the petitioner which were upheld by the full bench of the high court. Singh then challenged the order before the Supreme Court which was decided on May 14, 2005 and decision of the high court was held. He was then given supplementary award by additional district magistrate (land acquisition), Gautam Budh Nagar but he again challenged it before the high court. He said that an additional district magistrate has no jurisdiction to issue a supplementary award as there is no provision in the Land Acquisition Act. He cited the Singur judgement of last year where the apex court has said that supplementary award is not legally permissible but the high court dismissed his plea, saying the verdict was read out of context.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, South Korea sign pact for defence shipbuilding

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and South Korea signed an agreement today to firm up bilateral cooperation in defence shipbuilding. Under the MoU, conceived under the umbrella of the special strategic partnership, the two sides will nominate one shipyard each for this purpose. India has already picked Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) while Korea will make the nomination soon, Secretary (Defence Production) Ashok Kumar Gupta said. Gupta and Korea’s Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration Chang Myong Jin signed the agreement here. “It will enable HSL to upgrade and modernise its facilities so as to enable it to execute naval projects in a timely manner,” Gupta said, adding the whole initiative was part of the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Jin said the agreement will form the basis of defence cooperation between the two countries in shipbuilding. Gupta also said that the agreement will be useful for the development of vendors for supply of material. “That will generate huge employment and will also increase the turnover of HSL,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, South Korea to sign MoU to boost defence ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India and South Korea will on Friday ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the Defence Industry Cooperation in Shipbuilding. Secretary Defence Production Ashok Kumar Gupta from India and Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration from Republic of Korea Chang Myoung Jin will be signing the documents. Earlier in the day, Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Hanwa Techwin of South Korea signed a contract to manufacture the K9 Vajra-T tracked self propelled artillery guns for the Indian Army. The deal worth Rs. 4,600 crore is for 100 guns and is likely to expand further. Deliveries will begin in 18 months and completed in 42 months.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Lok Sabha grants one more extension to Committee on Land Bill

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Lok Sabha today granted ninth extension to the Joint Committee on the contentious Land Bill, extending the deadline for it to submit report till the last day of the first week of Winter Session. Ganesh Singh (BJP), who heads the committee, tabled a resolution to this effect during the Zero House and the House passed it by a voice vote. The Right to Fair Compensation and transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill had generated much heat in Parliament after being tabled by the government, prompting opposition parties to join ranks against it. Facing allegations of being anti-farmers, the government withdrew the bill and sent it to a parliamentary committee. Ganesh Singh was appointed its chairperson in July last after his predecessor S S Ahluwalia was made a minister.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

INSAS rifles to retire; to be replaced by imported weapons

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After nearly 20 years, indigenous manufactured INSAS rifles will be finally ‘retiring’ from the army and replaced by an imported assault rifle which will be manufactured in the country later. The Indian Small Arms System (INSAS), which was inducted in the army 1988, is likely to be replaced with deadlier assault rifles of higher caliber (7.62×51), official sources said. The sources said that as many as 18 vendors, including some Indian companies having a tie-up with a foreign arms manufacturing firm, have sent in their consent to replace nearly two lakh such rifles used by the army along the borders and in counter-insurgency operations. The reason for phasing out of INSAS, as cited by experts, was that it was not effective at long range and at best, it could only maim the enemy. The sources said that 7.62×51 assault rifles have already been introduced in the Pakistani army which purchased them from Heckler and Koch, one of the world’s leading small arms manufacturers based in Germany. The proposal for procuring the new assault rifles was in pre-Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) stage and expected to be completed by the year end after putting the process of purchase of these weapons on a fast track. The sources said that emphasis was being laid on arming the Special Forces of the army in the Northeast as of now and the proposal will come up before the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) soon. After the new weaponry for the Special Forces aimed at helping them in close-combat situations, the focus will shift to procurement of the assault rifles and replace the INSAS, the sources said. The foreign vendor would also be required to participate in Transfer of Technology (ToT) so that there is no dearth of ammunition and maintenance of the assault rifles in the country. These weapons can kill the enemy up to an effective strength of 500 metres. The conceptualisation of the INSAS began in early 1980’s before it was finally handed over for production to Ichapur Ordnance Factory in West Bengal. In 1993, the design of the rifle was changed before being introduced in the army in 1996. The rifle was put to use during the 1999 Kargil war.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

World’s longest-serving warship INS Viraat to bow out of service

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>INS Viraat, the second aircraft carrier in the Indian naval fleet, will be decommissioned on March 6, Vice Admiral Girish Luthra said on Monday.INS Viraat is the second centaur class aircraft carrier in service which has spent 30 years in the Indian Navy and before that 27 years in the Royal Navy of UK.”The next aircraft carrier is under construction at Cochin. It will be named Vikrant. As per the contract with the Cochin Shipyard, the ship will commence trials by end-2018 or early 2019,” said Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FoC-in-C) of the Western Naval Command, on board INS Viraat.”There is a proposal for converting the ship (INS Viraat) into a maritime museum. We are expecting a final decision from the Ministry of Defence very soon,” Luthra said. The Andhra Pradesh government plans to convert the ship into a luxury hotel-cum-museum.He said the Navy is looking for multi-role helicopters (MRH) with combat and evacuation capabilities to act as force multipliers. These choppers are meant for anti-surface and anti-submarine roles and for rescue and evacuation.”We are seeking early sanctions and early conclusion of contract so that this induction (of MRH) can take place in time,” said Luthra, stating that the Navy is also inducting the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH).The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) will look at issues like whether the MRH can be developed on a strategic partnership model, he noted. “The requirement of MRH is very important. We would like to move on that case as early as we can,” said Luthra.

Uddhav Thackeray explains why Sena is still giving support to BJP govt in Maharashtra and Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today claimed that his party is functioning as a corrective force by being part of governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra to “control” the anti-people policies.”We have seen that if power is not controlled, it becomes uncontrollable. Being in the government we tried to keep (the BJP) in control,” Thackeray said. “While being a part of the government, Sena opposed many policies that were anti-India and anti-people and today those policies are stuck. Be it the Land Acquisition Bill or the GST Bill, we made them make the necessary amendments,” he said in the final part of his interview to Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.Thackeray quipped that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi chooses to hold any election rally in the city for the upcoming Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, the Shiv Sainiks will go and respectfully invite him to be a part of Sena’s victory celebrations on February 23. “Modiji had to conduct 23 rallies in the state during Assembly polls to win. This time, even if he comes, the Sena will win. We want him to be a part of our celebrations,” the Sena leader said.He said that the “alliance with BJP actually got over during the 2014 Assembly polls itself.” “They had deceived us in the name of talks. The Lok Sabha polls had just finished then, there was a ‘Modi wave’ but no demonetisation. So they (the BJP) thought the Sena would not get more than 15-20 seats. But we proved them wrong by winning 63 seats (in Maharashtra Assembly polls),” he said.Meanwhile, reacting to Thackeray’s comments, MPCC secretary Al Nasser Zakaria alleged that the Sena chief is indulging in “white lies” and it is the “sweetness” of power that keeps him glued to it. “It is absurd of him to say he is doing the job of the Opposition parties. He thinks he can indulge in white lies and people will quietly listen. The truth is that the sweetness of power will keep him glued to it and they will not withdraw support despite being shamed everyday by the BJP,” the Congress leader said.

Sena part of govt to ‘control’ anti-people policies: Uddhav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today claimed that his party is functioning as a corrective force by being part of governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra to “control” the anti-people policies. “We have seen that if power is not controlled, it becomes uncontrollable. Being in the government we tried to keep (the BJP) in control,” Thackeray said. “While being a part of the government, Sena opposed many policies that were anti-India and anti-people and today those policies are stuck. Be it the Land Acquisition Bill or the GST Bill, we made them make the necessary amendments,” he said in the final part of his interview to Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. Thackeray quipped that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi chooses to hold any election rally in the city for the upcoming Brihamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, the Shiv Sainiks will go and respectfully invite him to be a part of Sena’s victory celebrations on February 23. “Modiji had to conduct 23 rallies in the state during Assembly polls to win. This time, even if he comes, the Sena will win. We want him to be a part of our celebrations,” the Sena leader said. He said that the “alliance with BJP actually got over during the 2014 Assembly polls itself.” “They had deceived us in the name of talks. The Lok Sabha polls had just finished then, there was a ‘Modi wave’ but no demonetisation. So they (the BJP) thought the Sena would not get more than 15-20 seats. But we proved them wrong by winning 63 seats (in Maharashtra Assembly polls),” he said. Meanwhile, reacting to Thackeray’s comments, MPCC secretary Al Nasser Zakaria alleged that the Sena chief is indulging in “white lies” and it is the “sweetness” of power that keeps him glued to it. “It is absurd of him to say he is doing the job of the Opposition parties. He thinks he can indulge in white lies and people will quietly listen. The truth is that the sweetness of power will keep him glued to it and they will not withdraw support despite being shamed everyday by the BJP,” the Congress leader said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Union Budget 2017: How does it matter?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Budget affects all the sectors and every individual in the country. The policies discussed mark the trajectory for the progress of the nation.Expenditures to be made and revenue to be collected are planned in detail for the forthcoming year as well as the report card of the previous year is presented. Here is a brief summary of how the budget is going to affect us.EducationEmploymentSetting up of National Testing Agency to conduct entrance exams for higher education. CBSS and AICTE would be relieved of their administrative responsibilities and focus on academics.DTH channels to link more than 350 online courses available on the Swayam platform to make high quality education accessible to students. Setting up of two new AIIMS institutes in Jharkhand and Gujarat. Steps to be taken to increase number of postgraduate seats in medical sciences.Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (vocational training centres) to be extended to more than 600 districts across the country. Setting up 110 centres to specifically help youth get access to employment opportunities abroad. Model Shops and Establishment Bill to bring in additional opportunities for employment of women.Skill Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion Programme (SANKALP) to be launched at a cost of Rs 4,000 crore. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.Skill Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) will be launched in 2017-18 at a cost of Rs 2,200 crore. Incredible India Campaign to be launched across the world to promote tourism and employment.DigitisationPromoting Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app by introducing referral schemes for individuals and cashless schemes for merchants. A sum of Rs 10,000 crore to be allocated for Bharat Net project to be done for providing high-speed broadband in fiscal year 2018 (period for accounting).A merchant-enabled Aadhaar payment system to be launched shortly, especially for those who do not have debit cards, mobile wallets, or mobile phones.A ‘Digi Gaon’ initiative launched to provide telemedicine, education and skills through digital technology.Cyber security of financial sector to be maintained by computer-based emergency response system.ExpenditureTotal expenditure of government in Fiscal year 2017-18 is at Rs 21.47 lakh crore.An estimate of Rs 3.96 lakh crore is to be spent on infrastructure — that is 10 per cent higher than the Rs 3.58 lakh crore spent this year. The Finance minister said infrastructure was the thrust area of the government for efficiency, productivity and quality of life and the approach was to spend more on infrastructure development. He termed railways, roads, and rivers as the “lifeline” of the country.The budget for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was hiked to Rs 48, 000 crore. A 24 per cent increase in total allocation for rural, agriculture, and allied sectors to Rs 1,87, 223 crore.Mission Antyodaya has been set up to bring 1 crore households out of poverty and to make 50,000 Gram Panchayats poverty-free.TaxThe government halved the tax rate on incomes between Rs 250, 000 and Rs 5,00,000 to 5 per cent.The companies with annual turnover of up to Rs 50 crore will have to pay 5 per cent less tax. This will make MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprises) sector more competitive compared to larger companies as 96 per cent of the companies will be benefitted by lower tax.Ease of investmentsThe government abolished the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and decided that foreign investment proposals requiring government approval would be cleared by the ministries concerned. Over 90 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposal have come through the automatic route because of the measures taken by the government in regard to FDI policy, thus the purpose of FIPB is lost. Further, liberalisation of FDI) policy is under consideration and the announcements regarding the same are to be made.HonestyParties can receive donations in cheque or digitally from their donors only. Also, the maximum donation through cash from a single source has been brought down to Rs 2,000 from Rs 20, 000. This step has been taken to bring down funding through black money.All cash transactions above Rs 3 lakh beginning April 1, 2017 is banned on the recommendation of the Special Investigation Team on black money set up by the Supreme Court.The FM proposed to confiscate the domestic holdings of criminals and financial offenders who have escaped the jurisdiction of Indian authorities, which means to seize assets of offenders, who flee abroad.

Green nod to modernise Upper Krishna Project at Rs 3,710 cr

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka government has received environmental clearance for expanding the command area of Upper Krishna Irrigation Project (UKIP) to provide irrigation facilities for the drought-prone areas in three districts — Bijapur, Bagalkot and Raichur at a cost of Rs 3,710 crore. Presently, UKIP is irrigating 6,22,000 hectares of command area, providing irrigation facility to desert areas of Bijapur district and drought-prone areas of Bagalkot, Gulbarga, Yadagir and Raichur districts in northern Karnataka. To eradicate regional imbalances, state-run Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Ltd (KBJNL) has proposed expansion of the command area of UKIP to provide irrigation facilities for adjacent areas. The modernisation proposal involves lifting of water from Krishna river directly at four places without constructing any structures across the river. “The Union Environment Ministry has given the environment clearance to the Rs 3,710 proposal for modernising the Upper Krishna Irrigation Project in Karnataka. The clearance has been given subject to compliance of certain conditions,” a senior government official said. Among conditions specified, the official said that the implementing agency KBJNL has been asked to ensure the catchment area treatment be rolled out in consultation with the Karnataka State Forest Department. It has also been asked to fully utilise the allocated grant of Rs 81 crore for this purpose. After five years of the commissioning of the project, the state government has been told undertake a study to assess the impact on environment and downstream ecology. The state has also been asked to submit six monthly report. As per the proposal, water from Krishna river will be lifted from four places: Budihaal-Peerapur in Bijapur district, Nandawadgi in Raichur district and Ramathal and Thimmapur in Bagalkot district. The project envisages utilisation of 21 TMC of allocated water within the gross command area to provide irrigation facility to 1.29 lakh hectares of area benefitting 291 villages in three districts. The state government has informed the Centre that the proposed modernisation project will have major impact on the area, especially since 80 per cent of the population depends on agriculture for their subsistence. The water will be drawn from existing Almatti and Narayanpur dams. The water required to irrigate the additional command area to be achieved by reducing irrigation intensity of Upper Krishna project from 115 per cent to 100 per cent. Total land requirement is about 2,403 hectares. Out of which, KBJNL has already acquired 822 hectares and remaining land of 1,581 hectares will be acquired as per the Land Acquisition Act, 2014.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

New land laws to expedite projects hurt farmers, activists say | Reuters

By Rina Chandran

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Farmers and activists are protesting legislative efforts in two south Indian states that would make it easier to acquire land for infrastructure projects, as the battle for scarce land in the country becomes more contentious.Andhra Pradesh state will introduce a law to accelerate land acquisitions for “public purposes”, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said over the weekend.Neighbouring Telangana state last week passed a law that drops the federal requirements for public consensus and a social impact study for land acquired for infrastructure projects.”Telangana‘s new law shuts the doors on farmers and other vulnerable communities who depend on the land for their livelihood,” said Kiran Kumar Vissa at Rythu Swarajya Vedika, an umbrella organisation of non-profits focused on agriculture.”It puts all the power in the hands of the state and wealthy land owners. The state will become nothing but a real estate agent for corporations.”His organisation has held protests in Telangana‘s capital Hyderabad, and plans a statewide campaign against the law, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao defended the new law, saying India’s 2013 Land Acquisition Act had slowed Telangana’s development projects.

“It is not possible to do development projects without taking land. We have a right to amend the act,” Rao said.Land-related conflict is the main reason behind stalled industrial and development projects in India, affecting millions of people and putting billions of dollars of investment at risk, according to a recent report.Federal law requires consensus to buy land, a social impact assessment, rehabilitation for those displaced, and compensation up to four times the market value.States including Rajasthan and Gujarat have introduced laws that dilute some of the federal law’s provisions.

Activists say states’ ability to bypass these requirements sets a dangerous precedent, dismantling vital checks and balances.The All India Kisan Sabha, a union fighting for peasants’ and farmers’ rights, has also held protests.India has introduced several land laws in the past decade to give the vulnerable more rights, but many of these laws are diluted and do not protect poor farmers enough, activists say. In Telangana, protests had erupted over the state’s plan to acquire land for a reservoir with its controversial GO123 order that diluted several conditions of the federal law.

Andhra Pradesh recently introduced a land pooling scheme for its capital city Amaravati that activists say puts pressure on owners to give up their land.The proposed new law gives the state even greater power, said E.A.S. Sarma, a land rights activist.”In the name of expediting infrastructure projects, the new law does away with key safeguards,” he said.”The proposed amendments are highly regressive, anti-farmer and facilitate human rights violations. You can expect to see more protests.” (Reporting by Rina Chandran @rinachandran, editing by Alisa Tang. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Jan 2, 2017 19:38 IST

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